Fat Kid Suit


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“Palm Springs man was eating too much of the wrong things…was drinking far too much.”

That’s the opening line in an article about me published in today’s Desert Sun newspaper.

Feels strange to have unattractive pics of yourself made public (even in my “after” picture I still have a ways to go).  But I am stoked to see raw food being made even a temporary subject here in the desert!

Being mentioned in the same piece as people like Sarma  Melngailis, owner of Pure Food & Wine in NYC, raw athlete Tim VanOrden, and the famous Juliano, owner of Planet Raw in Santa Monica, was more than flattering!

The paper also interviewed Laura Laffranchini, owner of Harvest Health Foods in Palm Desert.  Cool to hear her say, “We get a lot of customers who are either doing it or are curious about it [raw food].  It’s happening, and it’s happening on a large scale.”

Since some of you who are reading this are doing so because the link to my blog is in today’s paper, I thought I’d take a second to welcome you and extend my help in anyway I can give it if you are interested in trying out a raw foods diet.

Just leave a comment and I will get in touch with you!  I am looking for people  locally that I can work with to get raw classes and other resources available here in the Coachella Valley very soon.

If you read the piece, and thought, “what the hell is raw food?”, here is a list of some reasons to consider eating a diet that includes a lot of raw fruits, vegetables, nuts & seeds:

  • Eating more fruits and veggies is a no brainer.
  • Eating less hormone & antibiotic injected meat, that’s fed who knows what, while being treated very poorly, is also pretty obvious.
  • Filling your body with natural “good” fats (think avocados and viscous cold-pressed olive oil) not only feels and tastes great but also green lights your body to drop nasty stored fat.
  • Changing to a diet that actually helped me cut all manner of cravings was a life-saver.
  • Eating raw foods makes your skin glow radiantly and leaves you looking younger!
  • Feeling light and energized after every meal–instead of laden–is a big plus; especially for busy people.
  • Paying ZERO attention to how much you eat is one of the best parts of eating raw.  You never worry if you are eating too much, because EVERYTHING you eat is good for you, and your body is freed to naturally shut off your hunger when you are nutritionally satiated.
  • Knowing that the way you eat is contributing to a healthier planet and that you are no longer supporting an artificial approach to something as sacred as food feels really good too.
  • It’s also amazing to eat so good that you no longer stand in the vitamins & supplements aisle bewildered by all the potential deficiencies you might have.  Instead food is your cure.
  • And finally for me, eclipsing all that stuff, is a general sense of well-being, bordering on euphoria, that I hope I never take for granted…

Thank you Maggie Downs and the rest of the Desert Sun team for writing a cool & informative piece about people who eat raw!

P.S. One small correction.  The paper said it took me 6 weeks to lose 33 lbs.  It actually took seven.  That’s over 4.7 lbs. per week, and if you read previous posts you will see that didn’t include a lot of exercise…

More great stuff coming soon!

-Ken Gray

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60 day raw food log: Day 37 Am I in California? Why Palm Springs might surprise you…

No matter what brand of politics float your boat, you’d probably agree that California is “progressive.”  This is where the hippies, potheads, vegans, homosexuals, Scientologists, surfers, health nuts, and out of work actors roost.  Californians can’t wait to plug their cars in, or even trade them in for bamboo beach cruisers that they valet at the Farmers Market. Right?

NOT in Palm Springs.

There are a lot of gay men here…but other than that I feel like I’m anywhere BUT California.

Smoking–Rat Pack style

One example is smoking.  California is famous for leading the country with it’s tough public & workplace smoking bans.

I grew up in San Luis Obispo–one of the very first places to go smoke-free.  I remember as a kid all the restaurant and bar owners bitching about it, and wondering just how the hell they were going to stay in business if people couldn’t smoke in their establishments.  Go to San Luis Obispo today and you will find one of the nation’s few thriving economies, a beautiful downtown packed with pubs and bars that Cal Poly students frequent, and lots of people eating out in some great locally owned restaurants.

San Luis Obispo’s ridiculously vibrant Thur night Farmer’s Market!

Because of the smoking legislation, California is a different place today.  Less people smoke, and people who do, smoke less. Except here in Palm Springs.

Go to the downtown PS Starbucks, grab a frappucino and find a seat outside on the patio. Now start coughing.  Spastic coughing fits perhaps.  I can’t tell you how long it had been since I’d seen an ASHTRAY on a patio table in California.  Cigarette butts overflowing from the trash can top onto the ground almost everywhere I go…

GROSS!

Palm Springs seems to be emulating Euro-style around the clock smoke-athons. Maybe that’s not shocking where you live, but for me it was like  finding out the place I just moved to doesn’t have running water.

When I go to a house party, or am getting smashed with friends in Vegas, I really don’t care that people around me are smoking.  It truly is their prerogative.  Get me drunk enough, I might even ask for a puff or two.

One of my favorite things about hanging out in Tijuana is this famous little cigar shop on the main drag.  My buddy and I always start our day there (usually around 2pm) with some fresh espresso and a cigar chosen by one of the pretty and friendly shop girls.  But when I’m at a frickin’ Starbucks in GD California? Doesn’t make any sense.

Palm Springs is REALLY hurting financially.  This is a seasonal place that makes oodles of moolah IF the rest of the country (and Canada) is raking it in.  Business owners here are lamenting the lackluster tourist turnout so far this year (Palm Springs “High-Season” is roughly Halloween through April).  And the visitors who are making the trip are spending very little.  Pure speculation here–and YES I know there are other factors–but I can’t help wonder how this place would be different if they started promoting Palm Springs (a place that used to be a SPA destination) as a healthy vacation Mecca…

Hate bikes and people who ride them?

Then move to Palm Springs!  I’m exaggerating a tad, but compared to the the rest of SoCal, the Central Coast, and practically ALL of NorCal; Palm Springs is ass backwards when it comes to bikes.

There is a “bike trail” here that is supposed to loop bikers around town.  It’s 100% RECREATIONAL and it’s mostly on sidewalks.  That’s not biking.  Trying to ride my bike to Farmers Market this morning was a logistical mess.  The official “bike routes” don’t lead to anywhere I’m trying to get to (Sad considering the Farmers Market is in the MALL’S parking lot).

Routing bikes onto sidewalk routes is dangerous. Sidewalks and bikes just don’t mix.  Not only is it unsafe and unnerving for other pedestrians, the cyclist is in danger every time the sidewalk intersects with driveways and the road.  Any concept that bikes have the right of way is lost and instead bikes on sidewalks reinforces the idea that bicycles are marginal and even maligned transportation.

I’ve been in Palm Springs for a little over three months now and I have only seen one die-hard bike commuter.  She rides a bright pink 10-speed all over the place and even does so during the SUMMER!  Good on you whoever you are.

The newer and very popular ACE hotel in Palm Springs is one of the first signs of possible renaissance here.  They turned the old Denny’s into a hip organic gourmet diner, Wealthy Orange County Dad’s bring their families to hang out for a weekend, and young L.A. hipsters wear skinny jeans even by the pool.

And ACE bless their hearts thought it would be cool to offer groovy beach cruisers for their guests to ride around Palm Springs on.  I’m literally embarrassed when I see these poor tourist trying to make their way from the hotel to the downtown area.  You can see the terror in their eyes as they are forced onto sidewalks, almost run over by weaving snowbirds, and buffaloed by impatient locals.  It could be such a neat addition to this beautiful place where you can ride around in shorts on Christmas day. But instead it’s a joke and definitely not cool.

Like inferior produce?

You’re a match for Palm Springs!

Until I found the Farmers Market I was literally aghast at how bad the produce is here.  This is CALIFORNIA dammit.  A place overflowing with great food.  Order a salad in most Palm Springs eateries and prepare yourself for lackluster greens, tossed with inferior oily dressings, and topped with nearly translucent cherry tomatoes.  A travesty.

Vintage Los Angeles Farmer's Market...Very Sexy!

Walk into the grocery stores and find not ripe for another month citrus, sad little (or non-existent) organic sections with even less ripe avocados and fruit [it’s like the store manager says “if we’re gonna order this here expensive organic shit we best get it green as hell so it lasts till we sells it].  There is no Whole Foods in the entire extended area. My local health food store carries almost no produce, and when they do it’s only for 1/2 the year!  Even though the store OPERATES a cafe & juice bar requiring fresh organic produce–INSANITY.

And the worst part?  So much healthy-beautiful-delicious produce is grown right here and in the surrounding communities!

What Palm Springs needs

I’ve thought about this almost every day since moving here.  Writing about the negatives of Palm Springs isn’t meant to detract from what makes this place so cool.  But, it’s light years behind the rest of California, and I think I know why…

Palm Springs needs more young people.

Sinatra's Palm Springs House Which You Can Rent! See The Piano Shaped Pool!

The old rat pack crowd living here is awesome.  I find them endlessly fascinating.

The gay men who have turned Palm Springs into their own Mecca have done a lot to bolster Palm Springs economy and make it a better place to live.  The working class who live here (that’s me) are the glue for the whole thing.  Almost everyone I’ve met here is friendly, personable, and fun.  They are also attracted to this PLACE and want to be here. But…

There are VERY FEW young people.  The average age here is forty four.

A lot goes into making a place that attracts young artists and thinker types (jobs/venues/etc.), I know that.  But simple things like getting this place healthier, more progressive, and accessible would go a long way.

The best case scenario I could see for Palm Springs would be adding a University (UCR has an extension campus in Palm Desert and there is a sad dilapidated but very popular community college there as well–but Palm Desert is another world away from Palm Springs even though they are so close) .  Even a small college would really balance out Palm Springs culture and business.

The Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians own much of the Palm Springs area and operate profitable gaming establishments including a large casino smack in the middle of downtown.  It would be interesting to see them invest in the community (which they do in other ways) by investing in a totally new kind of University.  Think of the possibilities for tribal promotion, grants, scholarships, etc.

The Coachella Valley is loaded with the very rich.  It’s hard to convey how much wealth is hidden away in the canyons and country clubs here.  And a lot of those individuals would be eager to have some campus buildings named after them I’m sure.

Thanks for reading my unsubstantiated, pulled from my ass, and probably way too long rant about my new home town!  If you live in the Palm Springs area, or have visited, please share your take!

Tomorrow I’m going to share with you some new ideas I’m having about the best way for me to continue eating raw after I finish my 60 day 100% raw-food challenge.

I think it may be very helpful for a lot of other people too, who are trying to figure out a simple way to have more raw foods in their life, and maybe even eat mostly raw…


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60 day raw food log: day 36 I’m still raw & still losing weight rapidly & feeling outrageously good

On Tuesdays I weigh myself on the doctor style scale at my neighborhood health food store .  I went in today to see how I did this past week…

I lost another 4 lbs!

That has me down to 230 lbs…

Twenty Four Pounds lighter than I was just 5 short weeks ago.

I feel super; and by that I mean more energy than ever, no heavy gross bloated feeling, flexible, strong, and just about up for anything.  On an intangible level–I relate to people so much differently now–eye contact, confidence, and even a little swagger are back!

People are asking me questions (unsolicited) about my life and my creative aspirations.  One new contact wants to pay the fee to have one of my screenplays covered by a well known agency in Hollywood.

Other opportunities have presented themselves because I now have the energy and confidence to be putting myself out there. When I was spending most of my time drinking and the rest complaining–for some odd reason people and new prospects avoided me…

There is some kind of magnetism that goes along with eating better.  I’m not going to say it only comes from eating a diet high in raw foods,  but for me, eating only raw has unleashed dormant natural charisma and confidence which is helping me connect to a variety of people in new better ways.

I’m still not entirely sure what to do with my blog.

It’s initial purpose was to chronicle a sixty day raw food journey completed by a regular guy who had to overcome addictions and figure out how to eat this way even though he was tapped out financially (as in seriously broke and underemployed).

I’m a little more than half-way through that process now.

Here’s what people I’m meeting in-person and through the web are overwhelmingly asking for…simple, play by play, how to go and be raw info.

No philosophical stuff, or news articles on factory farming atrocities…but something akin to having a close friend take you by the hand and lead you into their raw food kitchen. People have been almost begging me to demonstrate how to make this seemingly insurmountable leap from cooked to not.

Can I do that?  I’m not sure.

First, I’d have to become a better blogger.  I find it difficult to commit to daily posts.  So many ideas swimming around and started, but I have NEVER been the guy who edits and finishes stuff.  I start things. I brainstorm. I motivate. I imagine…

I have a lot of ideas now related to raw foods and this blog–I just need to decide what I can commit to…

Maybe I will end up collaborating with others?  I’m very open, and as always your feedback and ideas would make my day.

Cheers!


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60 day raw food log: day 21 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it? (part 3)

 

WHAT IN THE WORLD DO I HAVE TO GAIN FROM EATING THIS WAY?


Energy

Sun Power!

Serious—power a small city, build bigger pyramids, apply for the “HELP WANTED: SUPERHERO” position advertised on craigslist, kind of energy. I have never felt lighter or freer…EVER!

You’ve heard raw food zealots talk about it, try it for yourself and see why so many athletes are turning to a diet high in raw foods to give them a competitive edge.  ULTRA-MARATHONERS are eating this way! When was the last time you ran 100 miles?

 

Mental Clarity

I don’t know that I can convey how clear my thinking becomes eating this way.  There’s a precision and depth to my thoughts that I DO NOT experience when eating cooked foods.  Some might even refer to it as

Whose more "in the moment"? Kids or dogs...

spiritual.  I’ll skip that label and just say raw foods are very expansive…

 

Addicted No More

Three weeks ago I was addicted to food, alcohol, and caffeine.  No other way to call it.  I was.  I don’t necessarily mean in the “I better get to a 12-step meeting” kind of way.  I mean how most of us are addicted to these things that should enhance our lives but for many don’t.

Having a couple beers with your friends is nice.  Sitting alone and spending your insomniacal hours working on a case of beer isn’t.

A glass of wine with your pasta dinner can be a beautiful thing.  Eating whole pizzas because your bored and drinking 50, 75, 100, or more drinks per WEEK…not so pretty.

The simplest, fastest, most effective way to break your food/booze/caffeine cravings is to go 100% raw with a focus on green foods. Doesn’t have to be forever, but give your body the break it deserves.  You will be surprised by how effective green foods are at combating your addictions.

 

Transcendence

It feels kinda cool to transcend food.  Best analogy I can think of is the totally in-control bartender who doesn’t drink himself…

So much of modern life can feel out of our control.  And it sucks to feel like you are always letting yourself down and breaking your own promises.  I gotta admit that I feel a sense of power being able to go to work in an Italian resaturant and bar and only eat tangerines on my shift while everyone else is eating pizza and getting drunk.

One man–a diabetic–comes in every night and drinks two or three bourbons while chowing down on minestrone, a caesar salad, a basket of garlic bread, a heaping plate of chicken alfredo, and some cheesecake.  All while lamenting how cursed he is to have diabetes!  It feels good not to be that guy.

 

Healthier Every Day

I remember literally feeling like every day I woke up my health was deteriorating markedly.  It really blows to be only 36 years old and huffing and puffing up a flight of stairs.

So many of the ailments people “come down with”, “contract”, or “suffer from”, are 100% avoidable.  Please don’t take me as some kind of jerk who is going to insist that all sickness is self-made.  I don’t think that at all.  But most of the everyday “conditions” we live with are.  The guy I mentioned who comes into my bar every night…he CHOOSES to be a diabetic.  One month eating raw and he’d be a different person and he would NOT be a diabetic.

Another example of the health benefits of eating raw is how totally it covers all the bases.  I was in the health food store the other day waiting for my fresh watermelon juice to be made.  So I decided to walk around and look at the shelves.  Two thirds of the stores shelves contain vitamins, powders, supplements, tonics, etc.  TWO THIRDS!  I had a funny reaction–literally–and started laughing out loud.  It all seemed so ridiculous.  None of those pills are going to fix anything. Total waste of time and money.  Let alone pharmaceuticals…

 

Natural Weight Control

Oprah and Ricky can talk all they want about the need for heavy people to accept themselves and the evils of a society obsessed with being thin…it doesn’t change the fact that none of us want to be fat!

If you read my Fat Kid Suit story you know I grew up being a fat kid in a fat family.  It sucked!  You know why I think people dislike being fat the most?  Because all those layers are proof that you are hiding shit and that your thoughts aren’t your own.

Have you watched the Biggest Loser?  Ever see people cry that much?  Even for reality TV these “losers” are shedding more tears than I thought humanly possible.

Being fat is not congruent with any kind of personal authenticity.  When I’m fat I start avoiding eye contact.  It’s a terrible terrible way to be and while I’m all empathy about how hard it is to make up your mind to change it, it’s 100% on you.  Eating raw has helped me quickly realize that, and I no longer want to abdicate my responsibility to and for myself.

If you haven’t tried eating 100% (or at least mostly) raw yet, you may not believe me when I tell you that eating raw is NOT a diet.  And I hope you know that I don’t mean that in some cheese-ball marketing sense.  It simply isn’t a diet.  I’ve lost a lot of weight already, and I have NEVER ONCE thought about a calorie, a carb, or wondered how many fat grams I was eating.  NEVER EVER do I tell myself I shouldn’t have seconds or thirds of anything.

I pour the olive oil on THICK!  I eat a whole avocado as a snack. I lick honey off of spoons.  The other day I got a massive pineapple and ate the whole thing for lunch.  You know those a-holes who say that drinking fruit juice is the same as drinking soda?  I drank a quart of fresh pressed seasonal apples juiced into a cloudy lover of a concoction that zinged in my mouth and sweetened my soul like no other…yeah it was that good.  My body SOAKED it all up into my cells which collectively broke out in song.  And guess what?  It wasn’t the Coke song.

 

Sex

Oh, NOW you’re paying attention!  Yeah sex.  That thing you try and squeeze in between cocktail dreardoms and buffet bellyaches.  Only a very small group of fetishists find belching and food induced comas to be a turn on.

You know what’s really sexy?  FRUIT!  Farmer’s markets are the new sex shops.  I don’t mean you have to use the fruit that way, just eat it.   And then let all that stored solar stuff of life bump up against some other radiant beings overflow.  In other words, sex is better the more raw foods you eat.

NO idea who this guy is, but HE'S got the right idea!

Having that youthful raw foods “glow” and lightness of being make you FEEL sexy at any age.  That kind of confidence and feeling of self-worth is the only real aphrodisiac…

 

The Environment & Animals Everywhere Will Thank You

This one is obvious to most people.  I’m not going to get all science right now.  There are tons of great resources out there regarding the undeniable connection between what we eat and the environment.  If anything, I’m sick of the words “green,” “sustainable,” “vegan,” and “carbon footprint.”  These are becoming marketing buzz words, overused, and to me they are often elitist terms with very little real world application for the majority of the worlds population.

I wasn’t attracted to raw foods for ethical reasons.  If anything I’m a borderline Nihilist who is completely A-political.  But, what we do most of the time makes the largest impact in our personal lives and on the human family as a whole.  Eating less meat and dairy has a far greater impact than driving a Prius does…

I’m not an “animal lover,” but the more raw foods I eat the more empathy I feel for animals, other people, and myself.  Having apparently turned my hatred toward plants, I’m now regularly butchering papayas the size of infant children and braining coconuts to get at their sweet innards.  You can’t please every species all of the time I guess.  Besides, the other day when I drove by a small farm, the chickens waved.

 

My Conclusions

I’m sure there are heaps more benefits that I don’t even know about yet.  I’m only just beginning with all of this.  Three weeks in I’m loving the results and wanting more.

Can I do this 100% of the time?  Probably not.  And I don’t think that’s what matters anyways.  But I can see myself mostly raw from here forward.

 

Your Input

What are some benefits to eating raw that you have experienced and that I failed to mention?  What percentage (roughly) of your diet comes from raw foods?  What do you like/dislike about the raw food movement?

PLEASE comment and join in on the discussion!

 

P.S.

Tomorrow I weigh myself and will post the result of week three’s weight loss.  All while NOT dieting.  So please check back for that and more!

Thanks!


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60 day raw food log: day 17 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it? (Part 2)

Yesterdays blog (part 1) looked at the misconception that eating “raw” has to be expensive.  It really doesn’t.

Today (part 2) I share what I think is a much bigger price to pay than money when it comes to the raw foods life…

Tomorrow (part 3) I’m going to look at the innumerable benefits of eating raw and try to do a simple Pro’s & Con’s analysis to see if eating raw feels worth it to me.

Part 2

IS GOING RAW WORTH IT EVEN THOUGH I HAVE TO GIVE UP SO MUCH?

Coffee

I love coffee.  The aroma. The acidity. The buzzzzz. And I especially crave the taste.  Black tar washing down my gullet.

I know coffee isn’t great for me.  Sure every so often there’s a report about it having antioxidants as long as we drink it in moderation…come on…let’s be big boys & girls and admit it…we like coffee because it’s a drug.  An upper extraordinaire.

coffeeDM2711_468x416

This morning I woke up feeling like shit.  Warmed over death.  I had almost all juice yesterday and it’s kicking the cleansing back into high gear for me.  Now normally, a quick $3 exchange with my dealer in the green apron would instantly change how I felt. LITERALLY.

Yeah-yeah there would be an energy spike and a corresponding drop..blah blah blah…that’s what a second cup of coffee is for.  And I like most people ENJOY the coffee roller coaster.  Especially because the ride right next to it in the park is the Booze Cruise. booze-cruise

So let me bottom line how I feel about coffee despite the fact that I am better hydrated and overall better off without it.  I miss the nervous creative highs & lows I experienced with coffee.

Alcohol

If coffee is creative than alcohol is fun. Right?  We’ve ALL had fun drinking.  And we’ve all cursed Jack, Jim, and Jose for ever being born.

66 A Shirt Full of BoozeIt’s tough to imagine the world without alcohol.  The liquid hazy realm is where we all become stuff of legends…”Dude!  I got SO trashed!  I woke up in a planter in front of a bank!” and “WTF Lara, don’t you remember peeing on the McDonald’s sign last night

in front of like one million people driving down Wilshire?”

Good times.

I’ve been bartending for about three years.  I’m not the kind of bartender who throws bottles in the air.  I’m not particularly fast.  I’m the kind of bartender that gets to know you and makes you a perfect drink every time.

I love beer & liquor (slowly coming around on wine with the help of Chilean malbecs ), my love of bourbon and tequila drives me to constantly learn and craft each cocktail.

You know how they say that what people choose to drink says a lot about them.  It’s true.  It’s a fascinating thing and what’s really cool is that it changes both seasonally and slowly over time as someones personality shifts.

For example, when I lived in the cold SF bay area all my drinking revolved around bourbon and dark seasonal ales makers-mark-cocktail-shaker-1from NorCal on up through the Oregon coast (My all time fave was Lagunitas’ Lucky 13 Mondo Red).  The cocktail I liked to treat myself to was a stiff Maker’s Manhattan.

When I moved to Palm Springs I became obsessed with drinking Hefeweizens during the hot summer days and with meals.  My desert tonic of choice?  The simplest Tanqueray gimlet:  3 oz of Tanqueray, the juice squeezed from half a lime, and ice go into the shaker.  Shake the HELL out of it and strain it UP into a chilled cocktail glass or over fresh ice in a clear plastic Dixie cup if I was taking out to the pool…

image-20090316-hv3pequktikoz5g40ol9_t_h480

If I seem like I’m rambling a little, that’s because I am.

I want to convey that I really like and miss these things.  I can’t sit here and type some BS lie like, “Oh…I don’t really miss any of that.”  Because I do.

Food

Now obviously, I don’t have to give up food.  I eat as much of it as I want.  As long as it’s fruit, vegetables, nuts…

I’m talking about pizza, steak, hamburgers, mashed potatoes, lasagna, burritos, sushi, cornbread, bacon, chili-cheese fries, artisan goat cheese, nachos, sourdough melts, street tacos, BBQ, potato salad, tamales, Vegas buffets, spanakopita, cubano sandwiches, breakfast potatoes, garlic bread, chips & salsa, pad thai, samosas, baingan bharta, and anything made or topped with copious amounts of sweet roasted garlic…

Making that list this early in my attempt at 60 days raw (and maybe as a way of life) is both a little sadistic and masochistic…but you knew I’d eventually have to get some S&M into a blog called Live Nude Food. Click here for a little amateur food porn I downloaded on a day last week when my food cravings were worse than normal. Go ahead and click it. You know you want to.

So right now you’re probably thinking “WTF!?”.  Me too.

I’ve run out of the time needed to delve into the social ramifications of being a raw food weirdo (that IS what people think).  Suffice it to say that if you think eating a diet that is contrary in every last respect to what the rest of your family, your friends, and the country eats…carries zero consequences; your crazier than Tom Cruise.

Yeah, you can get all new friends (maybe you need to anyways).  You can carry baggies of cacao to the movies and thank the big dipper that raw eateries are coming soon to a corner near you.  But it’s not gonna be all fun, and it sure as hell isn’t easy.  So why claim that it is?

rolling-stone-uphill-against-resistance1

You can see why I say this is the real cost of going raw.  And it’s one I’m still weighing out myself.  It’s good that I’ve made the decision to commit to 60 days 100% raw NO MATTER WHAT.  If I was trying to ask these same questions over and over every day, it would be a disaster for me.  In the meantime my health and overall feeling about life have drastically improved in just two weeks.  That’s frickin impressive on any level.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.  Tomorrow I’ll try and articulate what’s so incredible about the raw foods experience, and I’ll ask myself how it stacks up to the booze cruise…

What I ate today:

  • Carrot/Orange/Apple juice
  • Half a Pineapple/Green Powder/Honey/Coconut Oil “Colada”
  • My new chocolate hemp Cocoa Puffs shake
  • The other half of the pineapple…

Notes: Felt full all day.  So much buzzy energy I almost don’t feel grounded.  Went for a long walk at dusk along a dried out river bed. I’m updating this at 4:45 in the morning and haven’t gone to sleep yet…


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60 day raw food log: day 16 Weighing the cost of a raw food diet…is it worth it?

Most people are concerned about money right now.

I am in need of an IV drip connected to a money bag myself.  The place where I bartend is only scheduling me for 3-4 shifts a week, and like many restaurants, is struggling.

So one part of determining if raw food eating is “worth” it is the dollars spent. I’ll do my best to give a dollars & cents breakdown on what eating this way is costing me and how it compares to when I ate a “normal” American diet.

Another price to pay for eating raw is taking an honest look at the things you give up to do so.  Pizza delivery and cheap beer.  Pitchers of mojitos to wash down some gourmet Cuban cuisine.  Street food (especially TACO TRUCKS!)  BBQ joints…did I mention Taco Trucks?

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I knew my moto was back in Cali when I came across this taco truck on a cold night just south of the border. The Oregon border!

Finally, anytime you examine somethings true cost you have to figure out just what the hell you’re getting out of it.  AKA…what are the benefits?

So is it worth it? I’m no expert and I can’t answer this (or any other question) for you.  But let you inside my abnormally large head and show you exactly how I feel at this juncture about the costs of eating raw…

Today (part 1) will focus on the monetary cost.  Tomorrow (part 2) will look at the cost of giving up things you love and are used to…like taco trucks.  And in (part 3) I’ll wrap it up with a snazzy cost/benefits analysis (sorry no charts or Excel spreadsheets) that attempts to explore the sometimes measurable, sometimes intangible benefits of a raw food life.

Part One

IS EATING RAW MORE EXPENSIVE THAN COOKED?

First few times you walk over to the raw “section” at the health food store (you know you’ve become a radical marginal member of society when you are shopping in a specialized section of a specialty store) two things will probably jump to your attention…

My first thought was “This is a really tiny section.  Not really a section actually, more like an end-cap.”

My second thought was, “Holy shit!  $14 for peanut butter!?”

Bulk Items

To make matters worse, a lot of the things you “need” to get started are bulk items. These types of items will probably last you a month, but they require payment in full today.

As an example, I bought a big bottle of spirulina for $43.  Two weeks later I’m only halfway through it.  But when I

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Spirulina bringing someone else back from the dead...

was standing there in the store trying to imagine how bad something that grows on top of a swamp might taste, and ruminating on the sad fact that lately I don’t even make $43 some nights, well lets just say it wasn’t easy to hand over the green required to buy the green. (Spirulinas really more blue-green).

My conclusion? These items aren’t in actuality expensive and can actually make raw eating more economical in some instances. At $1.4o per serving, roughly the price of a Coke, instead of corn syrup, chemicals, and an ingredient list that reads more like toilet bowl cleaner than beverage; you get the most concentrated bio-available protein on the planet.

So, score one for the spirulina and other bulk raw items you might want like cacao nibs, hemp oil, and raw honey.

Pre-packaged stuff VS. Produce

When you are new and trying to “adjust” to raw  for the first time you will naturally gravitate to the expensive pre-packaged raw items because they sorta look like what you think foods supposed to look like.

realhomerI stood there having a Homer Simpson style conversation with myself that went something like this… “Ahhhh…crackers!  I know what crackers are! This is a peculiarly small little bag with only 6 crackers in it…not exactly a Costco size box of Wheat Thins…but it says here…sun-dried tomato crackers…mmm…sounds yummy…and they are only…let me just turn this little package over and find the price….$9!  WTF!”

I bought them anyways.  Because I was scared of not having what I refer to as “food-food.”  And you know what allows you to psychologically pay NINE BUCKS for SIX CRACKERS?  The little sticker on the package that says “raw.”  And do you know what those crackers taste like, I’ll give you a hint…it’s a 4 letter word…start’s with an “S”…and it’s not sun dried tomatoes!

I’ve been reading a lot of other raw foodists blogs and watching their You Tube channels and tweeting with them and I’m starting to get the feeling that the longer one eats raw, the more likely they are to do almost all of their shopping at a Farmer’s Market, or in a good organic produce section.

My conclusion? Go ahead and buy the pre-packaged stuff.  Try it.  See what you like and what you don’t.  Soon you will save the dehydrated breads and little $4 baggies of superfood trail mix for when you need the convenience or the comfort.  Spend the bulk of your dough on fruits & veggies that are pound for pound, yes even at organic prices, the best value for your food dollar.

11/14 UPDATE!  Went to Farmer’s Market today and loaded up on fresh veggies/greens/and fruit.  I even bought a big jar of raw wildflower honey.  Grand Total = $40  Because I’m 100% raw I also got “free” breakfast out of the deal just walking around enjoying all the samples being handed out.  When I came home I took everything out and put it on the table so I could see what all I bought.  I had to take a picture…amazing isn’t it?  The honey will last a couple weeks and I’m sharing this with my girlfriend, so the real cost to me for the week I estimate to be closer to$25!!!

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How Much Are You NOT Spending?check-into-booze

This is really fair question to ask, and the one that pushed me over the edge on the money issue.  Do this little exercise yourself, and be brutally honest about it.

I added up what I spent each week on:

  • Coffee. Up to 2 weeks ago I was spending over $6 per day at Starbucks.
  • Booze. I’m talking drinks out (w/ tips), drinks in, wine, beer, all of it! For me drinking on the cheap was still costing  me over $70 per week. And that’s with a job where I can have a drink or two for free.
  • Cooked food groceries. I love to cook.  Shop pretty smart at Trader Joe’s.  My share of weekly groceries is about $40 per week.
  • Eating out. Make sure you include any fast food, lunches out, frozen yogurts, movie popcorn, brunch, all that!  I had really cut back lately.  In the past my girlfriend and I would grab sushi or Mexican food at least 3x per week. But due to lack of work and recently moving, I’m gonna say I was spending about $25 per week eating out.
  • Cigarettes. I don’t smoke cigarettes, so this wasn’t an issue with me.  But if you do smoke, we’re talking big bucks here, and you ARE going to stop smoking if you go 100% raw.  Maybe not immediately, but soon.
  • Other drugs including prescriptions. In one way or another, to quote Weezer, “We are ALL on drugs.”  I like to party, and think recreational substances have their place. But for arguments sake assume you won’t be spending money on that after you get hooked up to nature’s crack–raw food.  Also include most (not all, like I don’t think eating raw is going to do anything in the contraceptive department) pharmaceuticals.  Especially meds for cholesterol, blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux (my GERD is 100% GONE), etc.

So for me…about $200 per week.  What’s your total?

So that’s $200 per week that I can apply to eating 100% raw food, drinking fresh-squeezed vibrant juices, and even eating out every so often in a little raw cafe or gourmet raw eatery.  $200 is A LOT of vegetables and fruit.

Another aspect of how much it really costs to eat raw vegan organic foods that I hadn’t thought of until I read Derek Markham’s blog today…is all the money not spent at the Doctors office.  In his case he acknowledges that as a father he chooses to spend a large portion of his families income on fresh organic food.  Derek says, “Our kids deserve the best fuel for their minds and bodies, and eating this way is our ‘health insurance’.” That blew me away.

What I’m NOT suggesting is that you cancel your health insurance (if you have health insurance) and count that as potential savings if you go raw.  But imagine the money you, your family, and the country would save by having less sick days, co-pays, depression, and chronic illness…

My conclusion? Money should have nothing to do with whether or not someone chooses to go raw.  If anything, I am spending a little less money each week to give my body an abundance of nutrients and delicious food.

Tune in tomorrow if you want to read about some of my misgivings about going (and staying raw long-term), as well as a candid lament about things I’m not sure I can live without (or want to).


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60 Days Raw food Log: Day 8…Lost SEVEN POUNDS my first seven days raw!

Day 8

I wish I could say I was more excited about the radical weight loss I’ve experienced–7 lbs my first week eating only raw/live food–but I knew it would happen & wasn’t surprised when I got on the scale today.

Also today, well before I knew how much I had “lost”, I felt that moment where I turned a corner and was gaining from this in ways that feel even more rewarding than weight loss.  For instance, everywhere I went today people smiled at me and said hello.  No joke…EVERYWHERE.  People at work and home are remarking on how “tuned-in” I seem, and how “present” I am.  Apparently I’ve been away for awhile…

I also started off feeling kinda miserly about spending money on myself.  That’s sad, huh?  Being stingy with yourself.  Today I felt like I deserved everything I bought at this cool little health food store / raw cafe I discovered in Palm Desert called Luscious Loraine’s. At this point it suddenly seems clear to me that investing in myself is tantamount and that the universe is only going to respond favorably to my doing that.

And remember, that 7 lbs was lost with almost no exercise. Like i said before, I’m really trying to learn how to let my body lead me for a change.  So when I get that urge to start running or jumping or swimming or whatever; I’ll do it.

Tonight I took a brisk full moonlit walk and couldn’t believe the euphoria (I was singing “When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie that’s…AMORE!”) surging through my veins.  I don’t know if the change is this dramatic with others who stop eating cooked foods and begin feasting on nature’s super-foods?  But for me it seems to get me on some kind of cellular-neural level…

What I ate today:

  • Pear
  • Freshly juiced greens including Kale with lemon and apple and ginger–HARD CORE!
  • Raw nori rolls with avocado, carrot, nut “cheese”, sprouts and tahini dressing (not that great)
  • Watermelon Juice of course!
  • Death by chocolate shake! Woke up from nap and knew exactly what I wanted…cacao powder, walnuts, hemp seeds, coconut oil, a banana, honey, water and ice…just before I finished blending I through in a chunk of pureraw chocolate I bought at the health food store earlier so it had chunks! Chocolate HIGH!
  • Raw soup made of coconut and greens
  • Apples with pecan butter!

Note:  So, yeah, I think going cold turkey and doing it the way I’m doing it is a rough transition. And maybe it is better to ease into raw? But, that doesn’t work for me & when I’m ready to make the jump I’m ready.  Also, I noticed that almost every blog or personal web story where some raw foodist gives that advice to start slow…THEY DIDN’T!  They just did it. So my advice, do whichever is going to work for you.